Search Engine Optimisation

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The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success

by Joanne Dolezal on 30th June 2018

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in, social media success hangs on the choices you make. Whether you’re selling to other businesses or to consumers, whether you’re a tiny company or giant corporation: your choice of social media  platforms, type of content and timing will be specific to you and your target customers.

But, there are some basic principles that will help you to get it right…

Right Time. Right Place. Right Message.

We often have high expectations of social media and of the staff who are managing it on our behalf. It’s wise to be realistic about how much it can do for us, and where the limits lie.

Your customer journey has changed.

Today, your customers are looking for a lot more information before they pick up the phone, send you an email or fill in that enquiry form on your website. About 70% of their decision-making is done before they first make contact with you.

So, where are your customers looking? Their journey may take them all over the internet, online searches, looking at social media to see what you talk about, how you behave and how you respond to customers. They’ll also be looking for any comments, testimonials and favourable reviews from clients.

Potential customers are trying to build a picture of you to see if they can trust you and if you can deliver – are you the real deal?

Authenticity is important on social media, as it helps us to build trust. It’s one of the biggest downsides to outsourcing social media management, because it’s difficult to get your true voice and personality across.

Depending on your sector and who your customers are, they will be looking for information about you in different places. They may be on Facebook, looking at the videos or images you’ve uploaded and they are quite likely on Twitter, which works for B2B, B2C and business to government.

They may be searching on YouTube, particularly if they want to learn and educate themselves, see how you do something or how your products and services are applied. If you offer business development, they could be using LinkedIn to find out more about you.

Potential customers will expect to find lots of information about you to build a picture and build trust. Think about where you appear online and on social media at the moment.

 How does Social Media help with marketing?

People often assume that if they publish a couple of posts on Facebook the phone will ring and they’ll make loads of money. If you’re really lucky, that’s what happens, but more generally it works in two key stages in the marketing sales funnel.

Social media works at the beginning of the funnel (or journey) to attract visitors to your website.

You may be inviting them to read a blog article, watch a video or download a report or white paper.

This is what we consider as ‘weak links’, because these aren’t your ‘friends’, they are digital connections to your business and your online profile.

BUT, it could be the beginning of a relationship.

One of the pluses of social media is that it can quickly create a conversation between you and another individual, and works brilliantly at the top of the funnel.

It can also work superbly at the very bottom of the funnel, post conversion. Once somebody becomes your customer, they begin to like you and in time may think what you do is great. These can become your Promoters as they’re more likely to engage with your social media posts, commenting and sharing them.

These are your advocates.

The other stages – conversion and closing leads – need a good website with good content, a strong email funnel and the ability to close leads. Don’t expect too much of your social media at these points.

Either way, you will need to be in the right place, at the right time with the right message.

To find out more about the Three Rs of Social Media Success check out our video:

We hope you’ve enjoyed the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How You Will Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buyer Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. Mobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

For more Content Marketing tips and tricks, grab your free eBook here.

 

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalThe Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success

Content Marketing and the Inbound Funnel

by Joanne Dolezal on 14th March 2018

Continuing with our series on why your sales team holds the key to content marketing, we’ll look more closely at the content or inbound marketing funnel. We focus on what customers need to find (see, read, watch, listen to) to move them on to the next stage in the customer journey.

Marketers are seldom customer-facing and don’t get to spend time with clients the way the sales team does. Or customer services, account managers, service engineers and so on. There has never been a better time to work more closely together.

Sales and Marketing and the Inbound Funnel

The content or inbound marketing funnel is different to the traditional sales funnel, but will be familiar to most of you.

The traditional model of customer acquisition is: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

This mirrors the traditional sales funnel: Suspect, Prospect, Lead, Customer.

But with the inbound funnel, we’re just as focused on what we do for the customer after they have converted, as the journey that leads them to that point. At each stage of that journey, we’ll be developing the relationship, gathering data and hopefully building insight.

ToFu – Top of Funnel

Content Marketing is used for brand awareness (the top of sales funnel, people haven’t heard of you or only vaguely know what you do). This was previously the main function of advertising. Customer Acquisition – getting people to convert – is the next function of content marketing. These people are ready to buy from you.

inbound marketing funnel

inbound marketing funnel is made up of ToFu, MoFu and BoFu

 

Content marketing is little, regular provocations: a post on LinkedIn, an infographic, a piece of content (such as a video or eBook) which you share on Facebook or a download from your website, and is designed to help you to keep in touch with the customer at every stage of the buyer journey.

It’s also about nurturing the customer to become a promoter, an advocate for the brand’s products and services. Working with you has made them happy, so they tell everyone else. Not only that, but if you create good content, they will share it for you.

There are different types of action you want people to take as they go through the funnel (or journey), and therefore you need to create different kinds of content for them.

If you’re looking to attract new people to your website, you will want to invest time and money in blogging, video, social media, email marketing and keywords, with a well-optimised website and good landing pages.

When someone visits your website, do you make it clear what you want them to do? Do you have good Calls to Action on your pages and dedicated landing pages designed to convert them into a sale or to sign up for something.

Sharing great stuff with them – great content, social media and email marketing – means you can sell more to that customer and encourage them to enlist new customers by becoming promoters.

MoFu – Middle of Funnel

When it comes to closing the leads, some of this may take place online, but this is often where the sales team comes in – either via email, on the phone or in person.

“The sales function is vital, and this is often how people will sign on the dotted line or make a purchase from you.”

Equally important is customer engagement. It costs businesses twenty times more to bring in a new customer, so bear in mind those costs, and the value of keeping the customers you’ve already won. It’s not just the on-sell, up-sell and lifetime relationship, but also the value of referrals.

“What’s REALLY important is the stage at the bottom of the inbound funnel.”

BoFu – Bottom of Funnel

In traditional marketing, when someone becomes your customer, the personal insight the sales person has gathered from them imay not captured anywhere. (Don’t forget, any data you store on a customer must be shared with them if they ask – this is a legal requirement).

This customer insight, how they think and feel and what makes them tick, or why they chose you over everyone else, isn’t always fed back by the sales team to the marketing team.

“Do you know what’s keeping your customer awake at night?”

The customer journey has changed

People skip through TV ads, they don’t like direct mail and are likely to unsubscribe from your company email. If this is what they’re doing, then we need to find a way to appear in their online journey at some point, with a variety of content.

The balance of power now sits very firmly in the hands of the customer.  Online reviews, on sites such as Trip Advisor, Which and Trust Pilot, help to build ‘social proof’. They are frequently visited when people are deciding on making purchases for themselves, their homes and their businesses. We all do it, and ask friends for their opinions too before making a decision.

Customers have a lot of choice and are empowered to leave reviews. This can become a spectator sport, with people making complaints without really wanting a resolution, they’re just trying to get a rise out of you. Aim to enlist your customers as promoters.

How will they know they can trust you?

Think about your customer and the kind of information they want – they want you to be more transparent and open. Everyone has been burned by something they bought online, which looked great but was disappointing in real life. Building trust is harder than ever.

You need to answer their questions somewhere, ideally on your website with a piece of content or on social media. If customers can’t find the answers, they’ll move on immediately and probably won’t be back.

Shifting sands

This power shift between consumer and brand has changed the way we do business and marketing, but it’s also had a huge impact on the way we manage sales. The sales team is in pole position, because their insights and customer experience help bridge gap.

We’ll be looking at how to involve the sales team more in your content marketing in this series of blogs.

What key insights can marketers learn from the sales team?

It’s not easy to get sales and marketing working in harmony but we share tips and real life examples from the sales and marketing teams we’ve worked with – saving you time, money and heartache.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Why tour Sales Team holds the key to Content Marketing. Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

Or if video is your preferred content type, click here to view the recording.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash
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Joanne DolezalContent Marketing and the Inbound Funnel

What Digital Marketing Means for Business Owners

by Joanne Dolezal on 3rd October 2014

Digital Marketing (also known as Internet, Web or Online Marketing) is a collective name for marketing activity carried out online, as opposed to traditional marketing through print media, live promotions, TV and radio advertising.

The rapid growth of Digital Marketing is due to ever-increasing access to and speed of the Internet.  Digital Marketing channels are increasingly effective at generating revenue and raising awareness.

Compared to traditional marketing methods such as direct marketing, trade shows and advertising, Digital Marketing often requires a much smaller investment (important for small and medium-size businesses and start-ups).  It also allows for accurate targeting and excellent reporting, making it far easier for even the lay person to judge whether digital marketing activities are having the desired effect or not.

The differences between tradition ‘campaign’ style marketing and digital marketing are:

Circular versus Linear

Digital marketing encourages you to research, target, test, modify and repeat and tends to be a continuous circular process of learning and modification until you get it right.  Traditional marketing campaigns take a lot of planning, but once they’ve ‘left the building’ there’s nothing you can do to change them.

Targeted versus Broadcast

Over time it is possible to gather and analyse enough data on your target customers that you save considerable time and effort communicating with them.  Either via email or mobile marketing, you can send direct messages to your target and past customers to build trust and loyalty.  Imagine how much time, money and uncertainty this saves you as you can track opens, clicks and conversions online.

Flexibility versus Committed

Because you have more control over the who, what, when, where of digital marketing you can control and modify the start and end of any activities within reason, rather than finding you are fixed into a longterm commitment that is either not working for you – based on digital metrics – or not generating the ROI (Return on Investment) you require. Response times are much faster too and campaigns can be set up and delivered in hours, rather than weeks or months.

‘Low’ or ‘no cost’ versus Expensive!

Print and broadcast media, whilst still effective at brand building, are beyond the means of all but a few businesses.  The proliferation of TV networks and channels, online publications and even digital broadcasting have meant that it is ever harder to reach the whole population but who wants to anyway?  You want the ‘right customers’ for your business as they’re more likely to buy from you.  ‘Laser vision’ trumps ‘spray and pray’.

The benefits of incorporating Digital Marketing in your Marketing Mix

It allows for accurate targeting and excellent reporting, making it far easier for even the lay person to judge whether digital marketing activities are having the desired effect or not.

What does Digital Marketing include?

Digital Marketing covers everything to do with your website, including Search Engine Optimisation – getting found online – and measuring where visitors to your website are coming from, what they’re at and which pages are most popular, among other things.

Driving visitors to your website, especially an e-commerce website, is essential if you want to achieve a healthy level of sales.  Tactics include Search Engine Marketing – anticipating and targeting the language customers use to find products and services like yours – and Pay Per Click advertising – display adverts online.

Social Media is also a Digital Marketing tactic and works well to raise awareness of your brand and create weak links: it takes time, thought and regular effort to build trust with potential customers.

Email Marketing and Mobile Marketing allow you to send targeted communications to a (potential) customers inbox or mobile phone.  Both require the recipient’s permission and are just as effective for Customer Retention as for Customer Acquisition.

Mobile Marketing in particular has evolved from SMS (text message) based communications to encompass Mobile ‘friendly’ Marketing, with developments in smartphone and tablet technology.  If your website is hard to navigate or looks too small on a smartphone screen – and 40% of Google searches are made on a mobile device –  you may be losing a lot of custom unnecessarily.

So what could digital marketing mean for your business?

Get in touch to find out more

Joanne Dolezal teaches Digital Marketing for North East Sales and Marketing Academy (NESMA) for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI).

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Joanne DolezalWhat Digital Marketing Means for Business Owners

For Website Promotion, is 3 the Magic Number?

by Joanne Dolezal on 18th December 2013

I am meeting an increasing number of business owners in my marketing practice who are confused about Website Promotion.

At first glance, they appear to have been ‘mis-sold’ websites.

Or have they?

They have bought new websites but are often unaware of the necessity of website promotion.  There is no SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) included (at all) in the build package and there has been no consideration of how the website will be launched and promoted.

More importantly, NO budget has been left for this. It’s like building a house… except it’s not connected to the mains, water or sewage, there’s no telephone and no letterbox.

Oh, and the postman can never find it either.

So why does anyone still think that it is enough to just build a website and put it live.

Well, I believe the fault lies on both sides: web developers and designers who don’t educate their clients, don’t integrate with other marketing providers and dare I say it, don’t think it’s their problem.  But it also lies with the the client, who may not understand what is involved (after all, who does, the first time around) and may not have done their research before commissioning a new website.

So what is the solution? 

Well, I believe that “3 is the magic number”!

There are 3 key phases in bringing a new website to life:

Phase 1:  Design and Build

This is where you build the foundations for an effective online presence but it needs to fit your business size, model and sector.  It also needs to serve your target markets and customers, so the preparation and planning phase is crucial.  Typically, a web developer or programmer will build the framework for your website, incorporating structure, functionality and purpose: e-commerce, database, directory, ‘brochure-ware’, etc.  They may build it on open-source software or bespoke, i.e. software code that has been developed by them.  The choice of software will largely depend on the type of website you require and the developers knowledge and preferences.

They may help you to purchase domain names (what will ultimately be the ‘address’ of your website) and arrange hosting, where your website will be ‘stored’ if you don’t own your own web server.

A web designer will create the ‘look and feel’, the colours, images, design and page layout and advise on copy – the words and headings to go on each page.  They will work closely with the client, aiming to reflect their brand and the purpose of the website.  This may include Social Media integration, contact data capture forms, blogs and other tools for customer engagement.

Web copywriting is a separate task and the words you use on each page of your website will help you to be found by search engines… or not.

Phase 2:  Search Engine Optimisation

Some of the work on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will be done as your site is being built and populated: as the images, headings and copy go on to the page and are saved into the fabric of the website.  Some software even gives prompts and feedback on how ‘SEO friendly’ the copy on a page is.

SEO also covers the registration of your website domain with all the major search engines, keyword research (looking for the search terms that customers for your type of products or services most readily use) and sometimes adding your domain to online directories, though this approach is becoming superceded by other methods.

Alongside this activity, the focus will be on attracting visitors to the website to increase its ranking on Google and other search engines: the more visitors for particular search terms or who type in your website address, the higher up the list you go.

In recent years, Social Media platforms have been used to ‘drive traffic’ to websites and to improve the ranking of a website on Google by benefiting from the platform’s own ranking on Google: facebook and Linked In business pages will appear in search results, for example.

But the surest ways to attract visitors to your website – and sell them something – is via Digital Marketing or Inbound Marketing.

Phase 3:  Promotion and Launch

It’s not uncommon for even the biggest brands to run TV or print advertising campaigns that end in an appeal to “Visit our Website for…” or “Book Online” but increasingly, these campaigns have moved online.  After all, it’s where we spend a lot of time!

Inbound Marketing including email marketing, blogs, podcasts, video, online events, social media, whitepapers and other forms of Content Marketing work by creating and publishing ‘stuff’ widely that will pop up in google based on the search terms the customer uses or will be shared with them by someone they are already connected to, typically via Social Media.  Email Marketing is one of the most effective ways to sell to customers and we ALL buy and act in response to emails all the time.

Outbound Marketing including direct mail, leaflets, TV, radio and display advertising (on websites) require you to ‘buy attention’ and whilst they are less and less used, in some industries they are still extremely effective: travel, cars, insurance.

Digital Marketing is a combination of of inbound and outbound marketing methods and will typically include any tactics from pay per click advertising (you set a budget or ‘cost per click’ that you’re willing to pay), display advertising (you buy advertising space on a search engine or website – online newspapers earn significant income from this, as does Google, Social Media (but not tweets about your breakfast) and advertising on social media platforms, keyword research and SEO.

So, should the budget be split equally 3 ways?

In my marketing practice I get involved at all stages, but personally, I don’t think so.

If a site is well-built and well-optimised, you may not need to invest heavily in Marketing and Communications to launch or promote it.

But if the internet is where you plan to do business especially if you have an e-commerce website then something has to be left in the budget at each stage to ensure that web projects work… and websites work hard for the companies they promote online.

Otherwise the internet will be littered with abandoned, unloved and totally unfound ‘white elephants’ and small businesses, the world over, will be a bit poorer and a lot more disillusioned.

So come on, see the bigger picture and budget for all three stages!

Are you a business owner who has commissioned a website and spent ALL your budget on design and build?  How can you promote your website?

Are you a web designer, developer or SEO specialist who is struggling to get the message through the clients about the need to plan and budget for ALL stage?

We’d love to hear from you so drop us a line.

 

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Joanne DolezalFor Website Promotion, is 3 the Magic Number?